I have been proud to lead AVK in the UK for the last 14 years. I have never felt prouder, however, than seeing the response of the AVK community – AVK UK and Glenfield Invicta, to the incredibly challenging times we are living through today. It is at times like these that the values we strive to live by as an organisation – customer-focus, sustainability, dependability, loyalty, integrity and innovation – are truly put to the test.
AVK UK and Glenfield Invicta is more self-contained and vertically-integrated than many manufacturers, and this is a great help in managing continuity of supply. However, a successful business is a team enterprise and our supply chain is fundamental to our overall performance. During Covid-19 all our supply chain partners have remained open and KPIs across the board have been maintained and, in the majority of cases, improved. Of particular note was the work undertaken by ACMO in Italy to respond to a customer query, manufacture the required valve and ship it to the UK at a time when that country was struggling to contain the virus.
AVK companies are fortunate to supply products and services into essential sectors such as the UK’s gas and water networks. Whilst new project work has understandably stalled, our factories have remained open to serve our utility customers’ requirements. For example, work on Tier 2 and Tier 3 gas pipelines (8” diameter and above) has increased as GDNOs (Gas Distribution Network Operators) have taken advantage of the relatively empty streets to replace old infrastructure. We have responded by increasing the production of Series 555 gate valves of DN400 and above to maintain supply.
Throughout lockdown, the safety and welfare of our workforce has been our prime concern. This will continue to be the case as regulations are relaxed. In particular we are looking at ways we can deliver project services whilst complying with social distancing requirements. Glenfield Invicta recently successfully and safely removed, refurbished and reinstalled a specialist recoil non-return valve at a pumping station for a water company. The lessons learned from this exercise will form part of the safety guidance we issue.
As our customers emerge from lockdown into a new reality, AVK UK and Glenfield Invicta will be there to support them. In the autumn we will be introducing a range of smart products, the first of their type in the UK. We are also launching a ‘Network Safety Solutions’ campaign to help water engineers and procurement teams specify and procure the correct air valves, non-return valves and automatic control valves. In the majority of cases these valves, if correctly specified, should be ‘fit and forget’ and minimise water hammer, air entrainment and negative pressure.
My personal goal for AVK UK and Glenfield Invicta, is that we harness the positivity, goodwill and co-operation achieved with our workforce, customers and supply chain during lockdown and use it to resolve the challenges we all face as we move into an uncertain but exciting future.
Regional Director AVK Holding A/S
1 June 2020